Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Five Generations

We went to visit family this weekend.  Jeffrey's mom lives in Arizona, so we don't get to see her very often.  She, along with her husband Fred, was in Illinois visiting her mom - so we drove down to see them all, and so they could meet Jason.

While we had everybody together, we definitely had to get the 5 generation picture!

Beth and Jason, Grandma, Jeffrey, Mom
OR, Jason with his mommy, great great grandmother, grandfather, and great grandmother.  (That little boy has it pretty great, doesn't he?)

Looking again

Guest written by our friend Sergio Chaney

Selling houses is not what I imagined I would do, but when I had my kids, I knew I needed to find something that was more flexible than climbing the corporate ladder. I've always been interested in real estate so it really seemed like a natural fit, especially since at that time the business of selling homes was really booming. It's obviously much harder now to make a living in this business, and I've actually been doing some job searching outside of real estate. I usually use my Clearwirelessinternet4g.com wireless to look for open part-time positions, and I'm really lucky that my husband makes enough money that me finding full-time work is not a requirement for our family. It's a shame because I really love real estate, but as of now is not paying the bills that it used to, so I'm just making sure to keep my options open. Hopefully in a couple of years it will pick up, but just in case it doesn't, I'm definitely trying to be prepared.

Friday, May 27, 2011

When a Tornado Comes to Your Neighborhood

JOPLIN, MO - MAY 24:   The Carthage Fire Depar...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
I still can't get over the devastation of the tornadoes that have ravaged the Midwest, especially the one that hit Joplin, Missouri.  We had our own tornado last June, and when it hit our neighborhood, we were amazed at the damage.  But, compared to the Joplin tornado, ours was a baby - a mere EF2.  Still, when it hits your neighborhood, it doesn't really matter how 'weak' it is.  It's still important to you and all your neighbors.

So I understand a bit about what the people of Joplin are going through.  We had damage, and we had houses destroyed, but  most thankfully, no one was killed here. I am extremely thankful our tornado wasn't any worse than it was.  Seeing all these tornadoes that have hit this Spring, I know it definitely could have been worse.  The more I see the news coverage from Joplin, the more I realize how much worse it could have been, and the more my heart breaks for all those people who have been affected.

Almost a year later, things here are pretty much back to normal.  I think it's going to take longer for Joplin to recover.  There are many more houses that need rebuilt, a hospital that will need repaired, and so much more for life to get back any semblance of normalcy.  Food, clothing, medical supplies, cars, houses - so many things will need to be replaced and rebuilt. They will come through it and be stronger for it in the end - nothing brings a community closer than going through a disaster together -  but right now it just hurts.

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Road Trip, Baby!

Funhouse (Pink album)Image via Wikipedia
Here we are at the beginning of a long weekend, Memorial Day, the unofficial beginning of summer.  That means people all over the country will be hitting the road for the first road trip of the summer - whether visiting family or hitting the beach somewhere, hopefully one with NO SMOKING. (So irritating to set up everything at the beach only to have some stupid chain smoker set up camp right next to my blanket!)

Anyway, about that road trip.  This morning on GMA, they asked -If you could take just one CD with you on a road trip, which one would it be?

We always take plenty of CDs with us when we go on a road trip, but if I had to choose only one, it would have to be Pink's Funhouse.  I can listen to that CD over and over again.  In fact, there have been plenty of times I have done just that.

How about you?  Which CD would you take?
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No Smoking in NYC - It's About Time

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 23: A sign at the entrance ...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
There was quite a bit of discussion on the talk show yesterday about the New York smoking ban. Not only are smokers forbidden to light up in restaurants and bars and all enclosed spaces, now they're not allowed to smoke outdoors either - in parks or at beaches.  I can only celebrate!  Not that it affects me personally, but I can only hope that this spreads across the country.  Thankfully smoking is banned in indoor spaces here in Wisconsin, but those outdoor venues are still filled with smokers.  It makes it really hard to go anywhere.  The entire summer is filled with fairs, festivals, and outdoor concerts - and those events are always filled with smokers.  If I want to go out and have a good time, I have to subject myself to that.

According to WebMD, 22.9% of adults in the US (outside of California) were classified as heavy smokers in 1965.  That number had dropped to 7.2% by 2007.  In 1965 10.5% were considered moderate-intensity smokers, and that number had dropped to 5.4% by 2007.  So, my question is - why has it taken so long, and why haven't more of these smoking bans gone into effect?  So few people smoke, but the rest of us have been required to either stay home or subject ourselves to that smoke if we want to go out.  Every time smoking bans are discussed or go into effect, we hear all about how smokers' rights are being taken away.  Well, what about our rights?  Why do smokers seem to think their rights are so much more important than the rights of the rest of us?  They've taken away my right not to smoke every time I've gone out to a fair, festival, or concert, because there is just no getting away from that smoke - indoors or out.  Especially when smokers of every age spot me and try to get as close to me as they can, to share their smoke even better.  Why don't they look for other smokers to smoke around?

If smokers want to exercise their 'right to smoke' then they can be the ones who stay home, where that right doesn't infringe on anyone else's rights.  Quoting from one of the Related articles here: "Smokers in New York City have one more irritation to contend with" - Well, guess what?  Non-smokers have been contending with the irritation of second-hand smoke for quite some time.  It's about time those with the nasty habit make some adjustments instead of expecting the rest of us to just put up with them! 
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What Do You Mean "Rollback"?

Cory and I went shopping today.  While in the chip aisle in Walmart, we found a good deal on Fritos and Cheetos:

Straight to Facebook!

Walmart marked them up recently, but only 2¢ per bag. They say grocery prices are going up, but that's not too bad, right?

What do you mean "Rollback" means the price is supposed to be lower than it was before?

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Spring? Summer?

It's almost the end of May.  I figured it was time to put regular sheets on the bed instead of the flannels, so that's what I did when I changed the sheets on Monday.  I took the electric blanket off the bed, too.  Which will be really nice when the weather actually gets warm.

Today, though - cold and rainy and windy, not feeling remotely like Spring.  I know it's coming, eventually.  Or maybe we'll just skip straight to Summer.  They're saying on the weather that we could hit 90° on Sunday.  Who needs Spring anyway?  We're just going straight to Summer!

Monday, May 23, 2011

I Need to Cut the Clutter

Sometimes I feel like I'm busy all day long, and I still can't get everything done that I need to get done.  Which is why I end up folding laundry and doing dishes and who knows what else until 8 or 9 o'clock at night.  And I look around the house and see clutter and stuff I just want to get cleaned up and out of here, but in between the normal things like laundry, cooking, cleaning up the kitchen, cleaning out the cat litter, etc., etc., etc., I just never seem to find the time to sort through all the extra stuff and decide what gets tossed.

Sure, I can be ruthless with the mailers advertising Brooklyn Accident Lawyers or offering to save me hundreds of dollars on my car insurance, but what about those magazines I've never had time to read or those recipes I might actually try one of these days?  I can't just toss them without looking through them first...  And what about the knick knacks and those books I might actually read someday?

I really need a plan to cut through some of this clutter, but I just haven't figured out what it is yet.   Maybe I can work on it after everything else is done?
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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Still Here

I really can't say that I believe in the Rapture, and I certainly didn't believe any claims that today would be the day - if there really is such a thing. There's kind of this thing about no man knowing the day or hour, not even the Son - only the Father. There are no online degree programs that can give any man that knowledge.

But, if there is going to be a Rapture at some time, I can just see the people left behind (unbelievers) having this exact attitude:

until things get really tough, and God gets their attention.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Guess Who Came to Visit

Jason! Our precious darling grandson. Well, actually, his parents came over to do laundry, but Jason came along for the ride.  So it's his first official visit to his grandparents' house.

It was nice having him here this afternoon.  I got to sit and hold him, and everything else got to wait - no cooking, no cleaning, no looking up oxyelite pro reviews, just sitting and holding a little baby boy.  I think I could get used to it!  There's nothing that really needs done, right?
This picture is actually from yesterday, when I went over to visit them - so I got to hold him two days in a row!  Isn't he precious?

Jeffrey didn't get to see him yesterday, so when he heard they were coming over to do laundry, he said they should wait until later, so he could see the little guy.  Well, they didn't get here until sometime this afternoon, and they had two weeks' worth of laundry, so they're still here, and his Papa got plenty of time to sit and hold him and enjoy him.
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I Better Go Shopping

Green Apple, Granny SmithImage via Wikipedia
We've got a teenage boy in the house again, and he seems to think there's nothing to eat around here.  He might have complained about the food on campus, but he really appreciated the convenience of always being able to grab something if he wanted it.  Here, I don't have much in the way of convenience foods - and he's already getting tired of his all-time favorite, Ramen.

So, I need to go shopping and pick up some pizzas, frozen burritos, fish sticks, etc.  And I need to be sure I'm fixing some good things for dinner, so he'll get some real food, too - with vegetables.  I need to be sure we have salad and lettuce at all times, because he loves that, and it's healthy.  And plenty of Granny Smith apples.

Thankfully pizzas are on sale this next week, and salad too.  I just need to decide what else to put on the list.  I don't want him eating all convenience foods - he'll get plenty of that when he goes back to school in the Fall - so I need to think of as many easy-to-fix, easy-to-grab foods that are also healthy.  He made it through his first year of college without gaining that dreaded 'Freshman 15' and definitely doesn't need to worry about weight-loss suplements like myoripped, so I don't want it to be worse being home.  I also don't want to hear him complaining that there's nothing to eat.
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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Love Child?

Why is it that so many celebrities and politicians can't seem to keep their hands and other body parts to themselves?  After the surprise announcement last week that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver are divorcing after 25 years of marriage comes the news that Arnold fathered a 'love' child with a household staff member.

Seriously, LOVE child?  I'm thinking that when a man messes around with a woman who is not his wife, gets her pregnant and has her buying baby clothes and pushing a baby jogger city select, all the while keeping it secret from his wife, LOVE has nothing to do with it.  Not love for his wife or children.  Not love for the other woman.  Not love for the child in question.

Who Do You Think is Going to Win?

I'm watching Dancing with the Stars - love that show!  Right now they're down to 4 couples, and one of those is going home tonight.  I'm pretty sure it's going to be Ralph and Karina.  I started out really liking them, but I don't think Ralph has improved as much as he should have.  He started out strong, but just didn't live up to the expectations.

Of the other three couples, I'm really loving Hines and Kym.  He just looks like he has so much fun out there!  And he's really good.  I really like Kirstie and Maks, too.  Kirstie surprised me from day one, and she has continued to bring it every week.  I'm not sure she deserves to win, but I'm glad she's made it this far.  I voted for Hines and Kym this week, but I'm going to wait until I see next week's dances to decide who I vote for.  It will be one of these two couples...

I'm not overly impressed with Chelsea, but the judges seem to like her and Mark - giving them the bonus points in the winner-take-all-cha-cha last night.  A lot of it might be that Chelsea always seems to have the same look on her face, the way she screws up her face or purses her lips when she's trying to be 'sexy' and it just distracts me from actually paying attention to her dancing.  So I won't be voting for Chelsea and Mark - unless she really blows me away next week, but I'm really not expecting that.

Do you think most people vote for the best dancers or just for their favorites, regardless of how well they do?  Who do you think should win?  Will it be the couple who deserves to win or just the couple with the most fans?

Looking for the Right Numbers

I think I really need to start looking for a house number plaque to put on the front of our house. I'm thinking maybe on the front of the garage, under one of the lights.  I never really thought about it before, but since so many of the houses in the neighborhood have been re-done since the tornado, several of them have added the house numbers to the front of their houses - and I really like the way they look.

I'm not sure exactly what style I want yet.  I'm just thinking I'll know it when I see it.  While I'm looking, I also want to find some nicer stick-on numbers for our light fixture out front.  I'm just not sure where to even find those.  There are a few houses in the neighborhood that have some really nice ones, they just don't seem to carry them in any of the places I've looked.  Any ideas?

Monday, May 16, 2011

MP3 Songs Save Money and Time

We've got a huge collection of music.  We've been collecting 'albums' ever since they really were albums, on vinyl.  Then for a while it was cassette tapes and then CDs, and now we get most of our music from mp3 download sites.  We still buy the occasional CD, but it just makes more sense to a buy a cheap mp3 than to buy an actual packaged CD in the store.

First of all, it usually costs less to buy the mp3 songs, but also it's more convenient.  Or at least it saves us some work.  When we buy a CD, we always rip it to mp3 anyway so we can play it on our mp3 players or computers.  Then, if we're going to want to play that CD in the car, we make a copy so we don't have to worry about anything happening to the original.  And then we put the original CD in a binder with all the rest and don't usually pull it out again - because we've got the mp3's and the copy.  Buying mp3's means we don't have to rip the CDs to use the music on our players or computers.  We can still burn a CD for the music we want to play in the car or van, but there's no actual CD or packaging to store.

I just found this site for mp3 songs download that looks like a great place to get more music.  These are some of the best prices I've seen for songs and albums.  The price for one song is just 16¢ - no extra fees or monthly charges. They'll even give you 2 free tracks just for signing up, so you can see how it works without spending any money.

I'm really tempted to download all the songs and albums we have on vinyl.  I mean, we already own them, but we can't play them right now, and this would be the easiest (and probably cheapest) way to get them into a format we can use.  What do you think?


No More Desserts

Now that summer is almost here, it's time to think about shorts and swimsuits and how I look in them.  Beth gained a bit of weight this winter, but she had an excuse.  I'm not sure what my excuse was, but I gained a few pounds this winter, too.  I could probably blame my husband and his need to eat dessert or have a snack.  Instead of saying 'No' I go along with him and have some too - not as much as he does, but still.  It's just that if I had dessert or sweets as often as I wanted them or thought of them, I wouldn't have them - or rarely.  If he's having some, I feel like I need to have some too, or he'll eat it all, and I won't get any.  Which makes no sense, really - since I didn't really want any in the first place.

Anyway, now that I've actually admitted those extra pounds, it's time to do something about it.  No more desserts (well, maybe once a week) and no more second helpings!  Also, several times a week, I've been walking an extra mile.  I figure that's the best way - eat less, and exercise more!  Also, actually doing something about it when it's only 5 or 10 pounds instead of 20, 30, 40, 50.... It's not quite so overwhelming,

For those who have let those pounds creep up (I catch myself wondering did they not notice? but whatever),  eating less and exercising more is still going to help, though it's going to take longer.  Adding special foods like protein pancakes, following specific programs, and getting extra support can help, too.  The main thing is the desire to do it and the willingness to do whatever it takes.

Now, if I can just get that husband of mine to cut out the desserts and get back to walking...

His Favorite Uncle

Cory got to meet his new nephew Jason on Friday.  I think he liked him just a little bit...

He's planning to be Jason's favorite uncle, of course.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Victory for Store Brand Formula

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of storebrandformula.com for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Beth plans to breastfeed her baby boy.  She never considered not doing it. I'm sure she's mostly doing it because she feels it's the best thing for her baby, but she's also cheap like me.  She doesn't see why she should have to spend money to feed her baby when she can give him exactly what he needs for free.   I breastfed both my babies and never regretted it for a moment.  I just wish they had continued longer - both weaned themselves at about 11 months old.

While I believe that breast is best, not only for providing the best nutrition and health benefits for the baby, but also in terms of cost and convenience, there are plenty of mothers who choose to feed their babies formula.  The good news is that there are high standards for formula production, and the store brands have to meet the same standards as the national brands.  That means that moms who feed formula can take care of their babies just as well if they buy the store brands.  Just because it's cheaper, does not mean it's inferior.

Enfamil maker Mead Johnson has tried, through misleading advertising, to make moms believe that store brand formula is not as good as theirs.  PBM Products, Perrigo’s store brand infant formula business, brought a $13.5 million false advertising claim against them, saying that Enfamil’s advertisements of superiority to store brand formulas were false and misleading because store brand formulas offer the same nutrients at the same levels as Enfamil.  PBM Products won the suit, and just this week when a U.S. Circuit Court upheld the decision.  Get more information about the case at Bloomberg Businessweek.

For more information about store brand baby formula, check out storebrandformula.com.  I'm glad to see that they also say that breastfeeding is best, but for moms who can't do it, there are options.

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Home for the Summer

Cory’s first year of college is over.  It seems like just the other day we were moving him into the dorm, and this week he moved back out.  It’s hard to believe how much stuff he had in that little room – in his half of that little room, that is.  On Wednesday Cory and I made several trips up and down those 4 flights of stairs carrying stuff.  Thankfully he got one of his friends to help carry the refrigerator.  We got everything packed into the back of the van, brought it home, and unloaded everything.

I was thinking we’d be able to head to the hospital so Cory could meet his new nephew, but he’s helping one of his high school teachers out with a production she’s doing this weekend, so he had to head to school for a rehearsal.  He really didn’t have much time.  Then he headed back to campus to spend one more night on campus and take his last final, and load up the few things we hadn’t managed to fit into the van.  He also had to turn in his textbooks, which apparently took a lot of time because everyone else was turning in textbooks too, and the line snaked on forever.  It would have been nice if they’d had some kind of self-service scanners and receipt printers or something that might have moved things along a little faster.  But, he didn’t have to buy the textbooks in the first place, so maybe a little waiting is worth it.

He cleaned and vacuumed the dorm room, too, and had time to come home for a little while before heading back to another rehearsal – and didn’t get back from that until around 8pm.  And now he’s home for the summer, which I’m sure will be over before I know it, and we get to start all over again…

Thursday, May 12, 2011

When’s the Next Holiday?

Time seems to be measured from one holiday to the next.  There’s a huge build-up to one holiday, and as soon as that one’s over, the build-up for the next one starts.  We don’t really celebrate most of the holidays everyone else seems to get so worked up over.  We do look forward to the day after the holidays – when all the candy goes on clearance.

What I don’t understand is what really makes the difference.  It’s the same candy the day before the holiday as it is the day after.  But the day after, it costs half as much!  Not that we really need any candy, but it’s so much more fun to buy it when it’s cheap.  Except after this past holiday, there wasn’t much Happy Easter Store candy marked down on clearance, so we'll have to wait until after the next candy-coated holiday.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

He's Here

Our grandson was born this afternoon.  He weighs 7 pounds and is 20 inches long, and he's cute as can be.

Beth and Tim had been at the hospital since about 3am.  Tim called around 7:30 and said that Beth would like me to come, so I jumped in the shower, got dressed, and headed to the hospital.  I didn't do much except to be there, but my baby girl needed her mommy, so I was there. 

And now, my baby girl has a baby of her own.  A precious little boy.

Monday, May 09, 2011

The Price Does Not Make the Gift

Speaking of Mother's Day, several of my friends on facebook mentioned getting chocolate covered strawberries.  I wouldn't have turned those down.  They sound yummy.  I probably would have worried that they cost too much, though.  I'm cheap like that.

I'm absolutely positive that those strawberries taste better if the giver uses a shari's berries coupon instead of paying full price.  Spending more money does not make a gift better.  Understanding the person you are giving the gift to and giving something she'd really appreciate - even if it doesn't cost anything - is what matters.
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Breakfast in Bed?

Did everybody have a nice Mother's Day?  Mine was nice.  We didn't do much - and sometimes that's the nicest of all.  I got a sweet card from my husband, and we'll call my new 'toy' a Mother's Day gift.  Cory stayed on campus for the weekend, so I didn't get to see him, but he did wish me a Happy Mother's Day on facebook, texted me, and called me too - so that was nice.  Beth wished me a Happy Mother's Day on facebook and then came over for a while.  We sat out on the deck and talked for a while - me, Beth, Jeffrey and Tim.  It was nice.

Something I did not get was breakfast in bed.  And that's OK with me.  I was reminded while reading the Sunday comics that breakfast in bed seems to be something husbands and kids like to do for Mother's Day.  Is this really something that moms enjoy, or are they just pretending because the family is trying to do something nice?  Because I just can't see it being all that enjoyable.  First of all - when I wake up, I really need to pee.  I could not make it through breakfast.  Also, I need to wash my face and brush my face before I even feel human.  I would not want to be talking to anyone and trying to eat breakfast. 

Probably I'm just missing the obvious, and all those moms who get breakfast in bed got up while the family was fixing it and used the bathroom, washed faces, brushed teeth, put on cute (and modest) nightgowns, and then crawled back in bed to wait.  But, if that's the case, why not just go eat breakfast in the kitchen and keep the crumbs out of the bed? 

It might even be better to get up and fix breakfast, and avoid this:

Friday, May 06, 2011

An Actor by any Other Name

We did get to go see Cory in his acting scene Wednesday night.  He was Screwtape in a scene from The Screwtape Letters - so essentially the devil.  He did a rather good job, and looked pretty good doing it, too.  He was pretty happy to have it over with, though.  Apparently, the Directing student who was directing this scene isn't a particularly good student - at least not in directing.  So it wasn't a real positive experience.

There were several things the director should have done that he didn't - from giving cues to the lighting people to spelling the names of his actors correctly in the program.  He spelled Cory's name wrong!  And the name of one of the girls in the scene.  I don't know if someone looked over the programs before they were printed or if they just printed whatever the directors gave them, but there was definitely a need for an editor.  Whether something is being printed simply at school or with professional printing services, editing is so important.  There's nothing more frustrating than finding those mistakes after you hold the finished product in your hands- at least in my opinion.

Oh well, I bet when Cory's famous, they'll be sure to spell his name right!  That's what was fun about going to see the Directing Scenes.  Well, seeing Cory act was the most fun, but it was really fun to kind of compare his acting to the acting of all these other students - if that makes sense.  When he was in high school, there weren't really any other guys to compare him with.  We thought he was good, but it's nice to see him with other guys who are interested in acting and be able to say we still think he's good.  He's a very talented young man!
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This is Country Music

My dad listened to country music when I was growing up, and I didn't like it at all.  It wasn't until much later that I started listening, because I wanted to - and I like it!  Because...

Also, I think country music is better now than it was back then.  I still don't really like the 'old' stuff Dad used to listen to.  Then again, I don't like some of the 'newer' songs and artists everyone is so crazy about.  I never liked the Dixie Chicks.  I really don't like Sugarland or Keith Urban or Taylor Swift...

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Update on Beth

She's still pregnant...

Tim isn't handing out those Dutch Masters quite yet.  Which has me wondering, why is it traditional to hand out cigars to celebrate the birth of a baby?  I bet I could look it up online, if I really wanted to know.  I vaguely remember some pink bubble gum cigars when Beth was born.

Anyway, she's at 39 weeks now, and it really could be any day.  Tonight, tomorrow, Mothers Day...  I guess we'll see when the little guy decides he's ready to come out and meet us.

Garage Sales all Over Town

Every Spring, usually Mothers Day weekend, our town holds a community-wide rummage sale.  The sales started today, and I thought about going out for a while to see what I could find.  But I didn't because I couldn't think of a single thing we need.  I'm sure I would have come home with some great finds, but the truth is I need to be getting rid of stuff, not getting more.

I've got several bags of clothes and miscellaneous things in the basement just waiting to be dropped of at Goodwill.  I suppose, if it didn't sound like so much work, I should have just had my own garage sale. Maybe if there was some kind of inetsoft business intelligence software or something that could automate the process of sorting and pricing . . . but it's just easier to drop everything off at Goodwill.  We just have to load up the van one of these days when we're heading that direction. 

If only Beth didn't already have everything she could possibly need for her new baby, I could've had some fun picking up baby boy clothes.

Who is This Cat?

Tillie is a real sweetheart, but she's not much of a lap kitty.  She loves attention.  If she's lying on the floor or 'her' chair and we walk by, she almost always rolls over onto her back and expects us to stop and pet her.  If we don't, she looks at us like she's trying to figure out what's wrong with us.  She's so soft and fluffy and sweet that it really is hard to walk by her without touching her, so she must be right in thinking something's wrong with us.  It doesn't happen often.

Spoiled CatHowever, it's very rare that Tillie comes to us wanting attention and even more rare that she hops up and curls up on a lap.  But recently she's been doing it more often.  I'll sit down, and she'll come trotting over, hop up in my lap, and snuggle up.  If I've got my computer on my lap, she does her best to get in between me and the computer, and if I try to type, she puts her paw on my wrist like she's trying to stop me.

I'm not ready to research bipolar rehab treatment centers, but it does have me wondering who this cat is.  I guess I'll just enjoy it when she feels snuggly - who wants to get anything done anyway?  Soon enough the boy will be home, and since he's her favorite person in the whole world, I probably won't get any more Tillie snuggles. 

I also won't get white cat hairs all over my computer...

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

What's Your Summer Style?

It was sunny and fairly warm today, which has me thinking about summer.  Also, Good Morning America mentioned this list of the Top 10 Summer Style Trends and said that ponytails are in this summer.  I've got that covered!  My hair is practically always in a ponytail of some kind - because I just can't do anything with hair in my face.  I know there are people who leave their hair down, but I don't know how they can stand it!  But let's just pretend I'm doing it to be trendy, shall we?

I've got some of the other items on the list covered, too.  I love my below the knee skirts and dresses, and I've got the denim shorts, too.  I might even have some coral or pastel nail polish, and if I don't I can get some.  Pretty toes are a great way to be stylish for summer.  Cross-body bags I'll have to pass on - those only work for the flat-chested girls.  A strap between the boobs just isn't attractive, no matter who says it's trendy!

No equestrian apparel made the list, but there are several more Summer style trends listed.  Did any of  your favorite summer fashions or accessories make the list?

Home Improvement Priorities

Fireplace.Image via Wikipedia
One of these days I'd like to have a fireplace.  When we built our house, we chose to put 9-foot ceilings in - because they couldn't be added later - and wait on the fireplace, which could be added later.  13 years later, we're still waiting.  I wonder if I could put a fireplace insert into a box or something and fix it up to look like we have a fireplace?

Really, I'm not impatient about getting a fireplace, though it would be nice to have one.  And eventually we will - though instead of in the living room like we originally planned, maybe it would be nice to have it in the basement where we could actually use the heat?  We've had some other priorities when it comes to home improvement - getting the driveway poured, building a shed, finishing the basement, building a deck, etc.  While a fireplace will be nice, those things just seemed more important.  Someday, when everything else is done, we can get the fireplace.

Maybe we could get one of those outdoor fireplaces for the deck...
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Quick, Easy Dinner Ideas

an omeletteImage via Wikipedia
Since we don't have much time between the time Jeffrey gets home from work and the time we have to leave if we're going to go see Cory act, I need something quick and easy for dinner.  Here are a couple quick, easy dinner ideas I used this week:
  • Monday night I made grilled cheese with smoked turkey.  (banana peppers on mine)
  • Tonight I'm planning to heat up a can of Chunky soup and serve it over baked potatoes.
  • and last night, even though we weren't going anywhere, I made omelets using some leftover steak, onions, and peppers I'd cooked up for fajitas a few days ago.  Yum!
I don't know why I feel like I'm 'cheating' when I serve something like that for dinner - those all sound pretty good!  I guess it's because I can cook, I do cook, and I feel like it's part of my job to put a good meal on the table.  Then again, it's also part of my job to balance everything that needs done, and sometimes there's just not enough time to cook a great meal from scratch.  As long as there's something to eat!

Don't get me wrong, I don't cook fancy gourmet meals, and I really do like simple recipes.  Some things just seem too simple, and I have to make myself appreciate that simplicity.  Jeffrey doesn't mind, and when he's home, Cory doesn't mind.  Even the simple stuff is better than a lot of the 'food' he can get at college.

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School is Almost Over

It seems like just the other day we were moving Cory into his dorm for his freshman year of college, and now it's almost time to move him back home again - for the summer, anyway.  Wow, time flies!  And I'm not just talking about his first year of college.  It seems just yesterday I had a precious baby boy.  I must have blinked because we went from using baby powder to buying deodorant and looking for acne treatments that work practically overnight.  His feet got big.  He got taller.  And I find myself wondering what happened to my little boy.

My little boy is almost finished with his first year of college!

We went to see him perform Monday night.  The students in the Directing class all had to direct a short scene, and Cory auditioned and was cast in two of them.  One of his scenes was Monday night, and the other is tonight.  I'm not sure if we can make it tonight, but I'd love to watch him if we can.  He's really good!  He's been working really hard this year, and I think (and he thinks) that he's improved.  And we thought he was good before!

He had us bring some of his stuff home with us Monday, and I'm sure he'll have more if we go tonight.  It did take several trips to get all his stuff into the dorm room, so it will take several to get it out - and it all has to be out in a couple weeks.  How is it that school can be almost over for the year?  It will be nice to have him home, though.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Movie List 2011 (January-April)

I've really been falling down on the "Movie of the Week" thing, so I thought I'd just list all the movies we've gone to see so far this year.
  • 1/9/11 - Tron 3D (Liked the movie, hate 3D)
  • 1/13/11 - The Tourist (Really enjoyed this one.  Johnny Depp is great)
  • 1/19/11 - The Fighter (So good!  Christian Bale is amazing in this movie)
  • 1/26/11 - Country Strong (I enjoyed it, but Jeffrey not so much)
  • 2/2/11 - True Grit (Jeffrey liked it.  I wasn't impressed)
  • 2/9/11 - No Strings Attached (just for fun)
  • 2/16/11 - The King's Speech (Awesome. Amazing. So good.  See this movie if you haven't already, and again if you have.)
  • 3/9/11 - Unknown (Good movie.  Kept us guessing)
  • 3/23/11 - The Adjustment Bureau (Not what I expected, but really good and makes you think)
  • 4/6/11 - The Lincoln Lawyer (Good movie.  Now I want to read the books)
  • 4/13/11 - Limitless (Kind of odd, but we enjoyed it.  It'll make you think)
That wasn't too bad.  Maybe I should stick to one-line movie reviews from now on.   Book reviews, movie reviews, anabolic halo reviews, theater reviews - they'd all be quick, easy and painless if I just stick to one line.  What do you think?

Receipts and More Receipts

I gave up on ever getting my Quicken file caught up and just started fresh this year, tracking everything on Mint and Google Docs.  I even kept up with it for the first couple months.  Or at least I thought I was caught up after February - until I started going through our receipts today only to find some from the middle of February all the way up to Sunday.

It makes me wonder how in the world we can accumulate so many receipts!  And also, how does time go by so fast?  It seems like just last week, or at the most a couple weeks ago, I had everything caught up.

How important is it really?  Thankfully not life and death - or we'd be dead by now - or maybe I'd be better at keeping up, but I guess we'll never know.  I keep up with the bills and track transactions on our bank's website or on Mint.com.  The main thing I need to do is separate my receipts - for groceries and household expenses - from all the other receipts so I can keep track of the money I'm spending.  It would be easier if I just took $300 in cash out of the bank every month and spent that, or even used my debit card and kept track of everything in my check register.  But, I use a credit card to get the cash back and have to keep track of my credit card expenses in relation to my checking account - which really isn't a separate account, just a number in my spreadsheet.  Anyway...